Shaka Smart #1 candidate at Wake Forest?

In case you missed it – Wake Forest and Jeff Bzdelik parted ways yesterday and the Demon Deacons have now joined Boston College and Virginia Tech as the Atlantic Coast Conference institutions searching for a new head basketball coach. (If you want to follow various coaching carousel discussions as well as a variety of other basketball topics then we highly encourage you to click here.)

Obviously, the Wake Forest job is the best one currently available in the league. So, is it good enough to ultimately land one of the best and most promising coaches in America? We’ll soon find out as is reporting that VCU’s Shaka Smart is Ron Wellman’s leading candidate.

Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart is the No. 1 candidate for the Wake Forest head coach vacancy, according to sources.

Smart is 137-45 in five years with the Rams. He’s taken VCU to the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive seasons, including a Final Four appearance in 2011. VCU is a No. 5 seed in this year’s tournament.

The Wake Forest administration has labeled Smart as an ideal fit. In addition to his success at VCU, Wake Forest believes Smart carries the same values it wishes to portray. Among those are an emphasis on academics and integrity. Smart’s style of play — which includes a fast tempo and an aggressive, pressing defense — is also appealing to the administration.

It’s unclear how much interest Smart has in the job. It’s believed that he is holding out for one of the truly elite college basketball jobs in the country, and he would have to determine if Wake Forest presents that opportunity.

Smart reportedly turned down multiple offers in excess of $2 million per year in recent years. In 2012, he signed a contact with VCU that guaranteed him $1.36 million per year with winning incentives that could amount to around $400,000 of supplemental income. Former coach Jeff Bzdelik earned a total compensation of $1.39 million in 2011.

Included in Smart’s contract is a clause that he would owe VCU $600,000 if he leaves before April 30, 2014.

Former UCLA coach Ben Howland is also one of the top candidates on Wake Forest’s radar, sources said. He led the Bruins to a 398-205 record and three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2003-13.

Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel is pursuing the Wake Forest job, but he is not a serious candidate at this time, sources said. Capel was most recently a head coach at Oklahoma from 2006-11, where he compiled a 175-110 record.

We’ll have more on like in WolfpackLand a little later after we’ve emotionally picked up the pieces a little more.

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Home Forums Shaka Smart #1 candidate at Wake Forest?

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    Only time will tell and time could be on our side. Gott obviously has several more years here…..has he reached his ceiling….yes? no? We’ll see. Meanwhile, Archie…..sure looks good right now, and I personally think his stock will continue to rise; however, time will provide a larger more accurate sample size. In several years if we were to be in another coaching search, our job should be a more much more prominent position than it has in recent history, and it may be the dream job for Archie to come back and turn his Alma Mater into a national powerhouse.


    Should be a link


    I like the upgrade terminology in this discussion as opposed to an outright firing because the coach stinks. I think this is a better way to frame what many people (myself included) are trying to convey. Has he reached his ceiling, we’ll see. Gott may only have been here for 3 years, but his coaching style and abilities can be tracked back to all of his years at Alabama. Most of us are not simply commenting on the 3 years – with some very big highs (Sweet 16 in first year, handling of CJ/Calvin in year 1) but also with some frustrating lows (defense, handling of CJ/Calvin and the rest of the team in year 2, fundamentals, breaking the press, just stinking getting the ball in bounds).

    I guess my fear, against what Rowdy is saying, is that it’s unconventional to upgrade a coach unless he has been really under-performing. So, unless Gott gets an offer for a bigger job (which I don’t think even the people that love him here think is coming), we will wait until we decline before looking for another coach. So, I don’t think, Rowdy, that it’s a guarantee that this job will be more appealing to a bigger name coach at that point, the point where we’ve sunk back down for the past few seasons. Again, it may not play out like that. But that is my fear with the coaching situation, especially how it looks like so many schools around us ARE getting upgrades. Time will tell.


    The only team to upgrade so far is VT. We don’t know how the other searches will turn out. And comparing the VT job to ours really isn’t fair, because we know the challenges are different coaching in the midst of the blue teams. Some coaches prefer to be big fish in small ponds.


    I wish Smart would just take ANY upper-level D1 job, so we wouldn’t have to talk about this anymore. The fellow can probably go wherever he wants…..GO THERE. He either has a plan on which school he wants to be at (including being the fat cat where he is) or he is a very indecisive person. He’s definitely reached his ceiling at that school. It’s silly having these same discussions about the exact same situation for years. I think that coach has a lot of player in him. He’s had his name tossed around for more jobs than HWSNBN.


    Smart called the Golden Eagles on Thursday and turned down the job after the school offered him a lucrative contract shortly after Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech last week, sources told


    SO….which happened….

    Did Shaka WANT to go to the Golden Eagles, but Mrs. Smart said NO?

    Did Shaka get a NEW contract or a raise at VCU? The folks in Richmond were coloring him gone and the wealthy (very few) VCU donors said that they still had home equity loans from last year and that their wives refused to go on Craigslist again…

    Shaka is just bidding his time waiting for Ron Wellman to call

    The WFU crowd is MIGHTY quiet these days….

    If I were Ron Wellman, I would be sniffing around the WPC Case Center and trying to get a hot trail to Lutz….

    Gonna be interesting…..

    Is Amaker STILL in play for WFU or will he be the NEXT Marquette Golden Eagles target?


    Marquette is targeting Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski for its vacant coaching job, sources confirmed to’s Jeff Goodman.

    Yahoo! Sports earlier reported that Wojciechowski had emerged as a candidate for the Golden Eagles.

    Sources told that Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin and former UCLA coach Ben Howland are also two top-tier candidates to replace Buzz Williams, who left for Virginia Tech last week.

    Sources told that Howland is extremely interested in the job while it’s unclear whether Martin would seriously entertain discussions from Marquette.


    Why is there not a Charlotte Observer counting clock highlighting the number of days Wake Forest has been searching for a new basketball coach which always seems to exist when State has a coaching search? WTF Wake, it’s been 11 days now and why did you run off your successful coach when he was the best you are ever going to get.

    IMO, Gott deserves 2-3 more years after remolding Sid’s players. I think Archie will still be available but I’m just an optimist. Over the last three years, Dayton has acquired 2NR players, 6-3 stars and 1-4 star. Can he recruit at a higher level at State. Where would Dayton have finished in the ACC regular season if they had been a member. Top 5 for an automatic bid? Does Dayton win with offense or defense or a solid combination of both. I only watched them play a couple of halfs. I wish I had the answers. I am a gambler too but the Lowe wager dented my enthusiasm. Sean and Archie in 2005 would have been nice.



    Miller (the younger one)?

    We KNOW that WoJo is going to Marquette because Mikey signed his transfer papers and the NCAA will allow that….otherwise, WoJo would be beside Mikey until Mikey has turned into a skeleton….

    Beat goes on.

    Shaka is staying at VCU….it appears the big donors got their granddaughters to go “pro” this time as their wives and daughters have had to do such over the year to raise $$ to keep him….

    So close the 2014 chapter on Shaka. Sounds like he has the Buther’s agent working for him.

    Wonder how they felt about allowing a game that was WON (4 point lead) go to OT by fouling a 3 point shooter —– who made it and the FT also. REALLY great coaching oh his part or incredible coaching on the Stephen F. Austin coach…

    Jimmy V used to say….go to the NCAA and play a SCHOOL that is well known….not part of a state (as in ETSU or ET @ wherever). The kids that come there that are usually NOT there are too hyped up….play the entire state (Georgia or Utah or Texas….not the lesser known’s. NOW we can add….never play a school that looks like it is owned by an oil or software or tech tycoon….

    Stephen F. Austin…..what kind of nerdy image does that connote?


    The decision is Manning’s to make in the next 24 hours as he has been offered the job. I’m certain he would be able to bring a lot of talent in to Winston.


    IMHO Manning would be a high risk hire. Very little sample size of HC and a small amount of assistant coach experience. Hometown hero hire is not the way to go; seems like a reach to me.


    He was an assistant at KU for six years. I mean that is certainly enough to know if he can coach. It would certainly be an unconventional hire.


    … contarian that I seem to be this week…

    Danny Manning could be a grand slam home run for the Demon Deacons…

    Yes… he’s still GOTT a lot to learn, to practice and to experience in order to be a top level D1 basketball coach… He’ll need a serious staff to do his best… I’m glad we’re keeping Coach Lutz… ’cause a carbon copy is exactly what Manning will need…

    BUT… While some other ‘names’ may be equal… I can’t think of anybody else who can do a better job of…
    — filling the Joel with fans…
    — relating to and talking to “today’s” student athletes…

    … given Manning’s experience and price range…

    And perhaps the most important thing is…
    He’s coming home, knows the ACC culture and traditions, and will be damn hungry for success…

    My radar says this is a done deal… unless WF mucks it up…
    And I do not look forward to playing Manning’s Demons Deacons…

    Every good team is a mirror image of it’s Coach’s personality.

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    Hey…there ya go Billiam.

    Manning should prove out to be a fine coach, and would be a dandy hire by Wellman.

    Coach’s son…very nice.


    I would be very cautious of a Manning hire and think he would be good for Wake. If he flops, it is Bzzzz pt 2. But with the big name, he could be a draw for the kids and maybe the guy can coach. He is from Greensboro initially so he is coming home. If I am Wellman, I think this is a slam dunk.

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